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2012 Air Shows
Florennes International Airshow, June 23-24, 2012
Location: Base aerienne de Florennes, Belgium
Admission: 7 Euro for adults, children <1.50cm FREE, Disabled persons and Military, DND, veterans with valid ID FREE
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
On Saturday on the 23rd and Sunday the 24th of June 2012, the 2nd Tactical Wing have organized the Air Component annual international Air Show that has taken place on Florennes Airbase. Florennes is the homebase of 1 sq.and 350 sq. with F-16AM and F-16BM. Such an opportunity only occurs once every ten years! The last meeting organized by the 2nd Wing took place in 2001. The theme for 2012: "70 years of military aviation at Florennes".
Florennes was built by the German forces in 1942 to complete the defense line and seal the existing gap against the RAF and USAF bombers, that flow in this corridor to bomb Germany. The base was built by the famous Todd organization. As soon as the installation was ready in 1943, the Luftwaffe based the 1. Gruppe/ Nachtgeschwader 4, from August 1943. The unit was equipped with Me 110s, until these were replaced by Do 217s in September 1943. During the following year the unit operated the Ju 88, Me 410 and Fw 190 in fast succession. As the allied progressed, the base was abandoned by the Germans and it was taken over by the USAF. On September 28th 1944 the 370th Fighter Group, equipped with the P-28 Lightning, the P-61 Black Widow and the A-20, deployed to Florennes. In January 1945, the 365th Fighter Group "Hell Hawks" equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts were operating out of the base, US presence at Florennes ended in August 1945 with the withdrawal of the 344th Bomber Group, consisting of four squadrons of B-26s Marauder.
After the WWII the base was taken by the Belgian Air Force, initially with 2 squadrons of Spitfires, and as years progressed with more modern fighter jets. In 1984 the USAF returned to Florennes in form of the 485th Tactical Missile Wing which was equipped with Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM) "Gryphon". The missile unit was withdrawn from Florennes in 1988 in connection with the policy of détente between NATO countries and nations of the Warsaw Pact. Until 2009, Florennes was also the home base of the Tactical Leadership Program, better known as TLP. Due to unstable weather in Belgium and growing aerial traffic above this part of Europe, the TLP moved at Albacete in Spain.
To commemorate the WWII history of the base, period vehicles and reenactors dressed in WWII uniforms were present, during the event. The public could see a wide range of activities, flight demonstrations and static demos and recreational stands. The public enjoyed an outstanding flying program with solo displays that included the famous colourful Belgian F-16 and the A 109. Rarely seen four different solo displays of F-16s from The Netherlands, Turkey, Greece and of course from Belgium. All together the spectators could see 7 display teams. A surprise was the presentation of two Su-22 Fitters from the Polish Air Force together in a demo. The Slovak MiG-29 was also very impressive.

Flying Participants were:

  • FR -- Patrouille de France
  • LV -- Baltic Bees - L39
  • CH -- Swiss Air Force PC-7 TEAM
  • HR -- Wings of Storm - Pilatus
  • JO -- Royal Jordanian Falcons - Extra 300
  • BE -- Red Devils
  • FR -- Cartouche Doré
  • BE -- Smoke Formation- Alpha Jet
  • BE -- F-16 (Solo display)
  • GR -- F-16 (Solo display)
  • TR -- F-16 (Solo display)
  • NL -- F-16 (Solo display)
  • NL -- Hawker Hunter (Solo display) RNLAF
  • CZ -- ALCA L-159 (Solo display)
  • CH -- F-18 Hornet (Solo display)
  • SK -- MIG-29 (Solo display)
  • PL -- SU-22 Fitter
  • BE -- The Victors
  • BE -- Yak-52
  • AT -- PC-7
  • FR -- EC 120
  • BE -- A109 Solo Display
  • BE -- P-51D
  • CH -- Morane-Saulnier 406
  • FR -- ME 208
  • BE -- T-28 Trojan
  • BE -- Ecole de parachutisme de Cerfontaine
Rating: 8.5 out 10 (Due to weather on Sunday!)
Photography and report by Peter Thivessen for AIRSHOWSREVIEW LLC
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